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Sexual Abuse Survivors/Spouses - Part 3

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devotedman posted 9/20/2016 22:35 PM

nekorb, I had a thought. (I know, treat it kindly. It's in a strange place.)

You know how abusers threaten to harm loved ones of the abused if the abused resists or tells? I wonder if the everyone-trussed-up picture is some kind of child's picture of the threat from the abuser?

Did/do you feel any certain way about the god-parents' house? Does it feel really safe in your thoughts, or really threatening? Did you view it differently at that age?

If that was a place that you weren't entirely comfortable with that might be why it is the scene of the powerlessness. It could also be the scene of powerlessness because you were abused there, though the outside part in that is a bit puzzling.

One more question:
Did you decide not to talk to therapist as a really well considered, valid decision, or is deciding not to talk to her a way to avoid facing your fears for a while longer?

I know, this is all so hard. It does get better, in the end.

hopefulkate posted 9/21/2016 09:44 AM

Hi Nekorb-thanks for sharing!!! I mean that truly because through sharing and exposure these secrets and darkness get exposed to light and their power gets exponentially drained. AND-you do help others afraid to do the same.

disclose when you can. in bits or in full. here or in counseling.

When I was a 6 is my earliest memory...I would masterbate obsessively thinking of my dad and wishing he would come home and show me love like that. Normal right? (I have no memories of any actual abuse - just later slight molestation.)

As a preteen/teen I wished all guys I liked would rape me and just get it over with. Still totally normal...right??

Met my husband and wasn't threatened by him in the least, but he was strong enough to overpower me...interesting I never thought of that....prior to him I usually liked "the weak nerds"...specifically one who didn't like me back. Super safe to "love" (in highschool) someone who doesn't want to date you. Perfect relationship for me!

My point is...I think you are normal. I also think you may disassociate. That vision of you being outside your body or the darkness? Go back to counseling and bring that up. Counselor adept at CSA, trauma, EMDR, family, DID and current teachings/research? You don't have to relieve every detail to get over it - that can be just as traumatic, but exposing what is stuck in your head will set you free....WHEN YOU ARE READY. Don't force it. Your brain will help you.

It's ok to feel afraid of this, but know that you are ok right now. You are safe right now. Whatever you are feeling are memories improperly coded and just need to be sorted and filed away in the folder labeled past and "healed from". This does take time, as you know, so self compassion while you think about what you want next.

Hooray for recognizing red flags!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shows you are aware and strong. You got this.

And later...when you find a safe can role play those weird fantasies safely. Helps to get rid of them too. But not until therapy has worked through a lot of it first...

Also- I am just someone treading the water here please take all I say as just my experience and reading thus far, and work with an actual trained professional.

Post often. Great group of people here!

devotedman posted 9/21/2016 10:53 AM

When I was a 6 is my earliest memory...I would masterbate obsessively thinking of my dad and wishing he would come home and show me love like that. Normal right?

Wait, you mean it isn't normal? My corresponding memory is about 4. I can tell from the house we lived in at the time. My abuser was Mom, but the same thing.

As a preteen/teen I wished all guys I liked would rape me and just get it over with. Still totally normal...right??

Corresponding/related feelings here as well.

hopelesskate, I am so sorry. Nekorb, too.

nekorb, we're all just humans and we all react in pretty much the same ways. These things do color our lives and relationships.

Complicating the attraction thing a bit is that it seems to be a Nature (not Nurture) part of things for women to generally be attracted to the taller, stronger, more "successful" (in environmental context) types to ensure their survival and the survival of their young.

We humans sure are complicated beasts, eh?

hopelesskate, thanks for the "You don't have to relieve every detail to get over it" current thinking. I'll target that and get myself up to date a bit.

thanks to both of you for sharing what you can/have so far. that sharing thing paralyzed me for years. I grew up with "this is normal, don't talk about it". I had that sexual response permeating everything. Plus, being a hormonal male teen at one point didn't make it any easier though, honestly, not much different than earlier life.

And I recognize the obsessive masturbation thing. When I matured enough to orgasm I actually discovered, through trial and error, how many times I could masturbate to orgasm each day without several days in a row of the same amount leading to chafing and friction burns.

Because that was most efficient, you know? One can't masturbate whilst recovering from friction burns, can one?

Normal, right??

fistbumps all around. so much safer than actual physical contact, like a hug }{ }{

ButterflyGirl posted 9/23/2016 23:48 PM

Is replaying the abuse during masturbation normal? Or I guess it's not "normal", but it's comforting to know it's "common". Thanks for sharing guys.

I've been listening to Pink Floyds The Wall for some reason, and as much as I loved it before, I find it so relates to me now, especially when it comes to the sexual dysfunction I have to deal with.

But now I keep thinking building The Wall keeps some scary things out, but there are actually more scary things locked inside The Wall with me now.

So many bricks to this wall, it's hard tearing them all down.

devotedman posted 9/24/2016 00:32 AM

Yes, replaying major traumas on a loop is a normal human reaction.

So is blocking them completely, repressed memories.

So is "recreating the abuse" because it is our "normal", and sometimes we do it to try to control the outcome, to make the old things "unhappen" or happen differently.

Thing is, those coping mechanisms were developed by an abused kid. They are not really effective coping mechanisms. But they are ours! Yay!

Yeah, those walls. Very familiar I am.

fistbump of Hail and well met, sister. }{

\Sorry you're having all this crap. Glad you're talking and dealing, even if only a little to start. Keep going, keep dealing, keep _thinking_, keep on keeping on.

eileenem317 posted 9/24/2016 23:36 PM

I'm not really sure if I'm in the right place. My MC recommended I try a forum or chat for people in my position, and I'm still trying to figure out what that means in the online world.

My H and I have been together for almost 13 years, married for almost 4, and are HS sweethearts. About 7 years ago I began to notice that he was a bit checked out of our relationship, stopped putting effort in; was not super responsive to mine; sex all but stopped; and he just seemed distracted and like he was escaping from something into his work and throwing himself into it. I thought it was me, or the fact that we were long-distance at the time...

We eventually talked and he said he would try to invest more in us and in me, and the long of the short of it is that we got engaged, bought a house, and got married in 2012. He was also at his heaviest, so sex was still nonexistent. My self-esteem was in the shitter but he was my best friend and I love him desperately, and I kept believing it was the weight and his self-esteem, but even after we got married this distance continued.

We started trying for a baby last year and it was not really happening for about 6 months, which took its toll on me and made me upset and irritable, which I'm sure didn't help.

7 months ago was my D-Day. Shortly after Valentine's Day and our (dating) anniversary, I came home from working a night shift and opened his laptop to look at Pinterest and eat before coming to bed. What I found was his Messages App open, and when I clicked on an unfamiliar name, I found that he had been having a PA with another man. I had certainly had my doubts about my H's attraction to me, and his interest in sex-despite weight loss surgery resulting in 175lbs. lost so far.

As far as how I got information from my WS, it was the same story as most people I'm sure...trickled out over several days, and I'm sure not even the whole thing.

I had known he had been sexually abused as a child by a family neighbor. He had mentioned it once but didn't want to talk about it, and it had never come up again. I give my H credit for taking responsibility for the PA, not trying to deny it and being responsive to my heartbreak and for his remorse, and for his initiative to get us into MC.

I learned in those first 2 months following D-Day that his abuse was much more extensive and long-term than he had ever told me, and that following this abuse by an adult, after the family relocated he and his best friend were sexually involved. I'm not sure who really initiated, but it essentially turns out that he was abused for about 3 years by this man, and then from age 9-14 this was re-created with his friend, who ultimately turned out to be the AP all these years later.

As a mental health counselor and a sexual assault survivor (I was raped by my boyfriend several times between the ages of 16-17), I know that trauma is messy to unpack and I commend him for the hard work he's been doing in these months since D-Day and our beginning of MC.

Obviously our healing is complicated in that we both have this trauma history. But since he is only just beginning to acknowledge this abuse and deal with it, this has resulted in my often feeling a bit silenced in our MC. Our therapist is doing his very best to meet with us as a couple and individually to get us through it. But clearly, my heartbreak for my H and everything he's been through complicates my trauma of having been betrayed like this. There's anger countered with helplessness, and so much isolation-because to talk about it with friends of our marriage is outing him, which I don't want to do. So support is really lacking. The only real person I can talk with about it who gets it is our MC/IC, and since D-Day a lot of our problems in our marriage have been through this context of my H's abuse, his tendency to dissociate during arguments, and all the while I feel I'm losing my voice and it's really, really lonely.

It's been really frustrating to search other forums because although I'm not sure our situation is entirely unique in that he re-created his past abuse with his S/S AP, I don't really know where to turn.

If I'm in the wrong place, please let me know. I don't want to upset anyone with my presence and I'm new to all of this-I haven't really worked up the courage to get to an in-person support group, as I still am a bit depressed and anxious and tend to fall apart when I talk about it for more than a few minutes. I'm just looking for a place to...I don't know, really.

devotedman posted 9/25/2016 01:19 AM

You are surely welcome here. We tend to fistbump instead of the hug thing ((username)) because closed hand brief touches are pretty safe and hugs can be scary triggers to the abused. As they used to be to me.

That said, eileenem317, have a compassionate fistbump of understanding }{

Back in the 2nd post of this thread I re-posted a collection that I made of resources found by me and others. The most common go-to book to start with to understand trauma in general is The Body Keeps The Score.

Your story resembles pretty closely those of some of the other women who post on this thread. In part II (you're in Part 3) hopelesskate's journey started. She chronicled her husband's journey from self-destrive to well on the healing road. She will probably also be around shortly. This thread's traffic is sporadic.

From your personal profession and history I don't think that I can do much but affirm and tell you that you're not alone. I was abused by my mother and later by several slightly older males.

Your H might be stuck in a cycle of re-creating the abuse and trying to change the outcome. He almost certainly has his self-esteem all shot to hell. I know mine was.

I wouldn't have made a very safe partner, no one really can, while the self-esteem is shot to hell. We tell ourselves that we're not worth anything and then consume the ego-kibbles of outside validation to try to make ourselves feel better. Since as children we learned a twisted, warped view of our self-worth we often try to regain it in twisted ways. Not twisted-insane but twisted-ineffective.

Your H needs an IC trained in trauma and CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse). His willingness to begin to talk about it certainly speaks to his desire to heal. That is a really hopeful sign. Still, MC might be a bit premature because deep inside him there's still a child, the part of him whose development was arrested at the age of abuse. That hurt kid negotiates its safety with the adult parts of him. It must be placated. And it is still a child running a man's body, emotions, and responsibilities. He honestly just cannot handle some things until that part of him is treated and made whole.

And you need many of the same things yourself. Have you had any trauma or abuse survivor counseling yourself?

I understand the counseling dynamic that you mention. Since you've suffered the same as he (we don't compare abuses, one isn't worse than another) your silence could be taken as you putting his needs before you, or the counselor dealing with the one who cheated first in order to try to make your H safer for you before dealing with you, the partner who did not cheat. That's just pure speculation on my part, though.

I would suggest that you find your own IC to explore your own healing, separate from your H's. He might do the same. MC at this point is honestly often considered too soon because both of you still have personal issues to resolve. That's the oft-recommended advice here on SI - heal the self or selves before healing the M because you can't have a healthy M without healthy individuals to base it upon.

I'm sorry that you're here, eileenem317. Strength to you, sister in adversity. I do hope that I've helped you a bit.

You feel that you might be losing your voice - So tell us, please, what do _you_ want to say? You talked about your H and your M a lot. What about eileenem317? Are you still devastated? Have you hit a point of temporarily worn out? Is The Emotional Rollercoaster still in full swing, so angry to sad to mad to hurt to despair to hope to flat and back to angry, all in the space of minutes/hours/days?

nekorb posted 9/26/2016 16:55 PM


I'm posting Part 2 of the snapshot I've had in my head since childhood. Part 1 is a few posts back.

So - we are currently all bound per part 1, in the garden of my godparent's house.

The last part of it is this - our eyes and mouths are black - like in horror movies, and our eyes, mouths, and genitals have all been set on fire. We are just laying in the garden between the rows burning like this. The plants are tall, so you cant see us from outside the garden.


I'm going to post in a new reply after this.

ugh. I can't explain the anxiety.

nekorb posted 9/26/2016 17:30 PM

you know how a BS can't reconcile / forgive what is not admitted

For me, it isn't really about needing to confront the abusers or get retribution, etc. It's more about being aware that a lot of the thoughts and feelings I have about sex and my body came from this place of dysfunction, and that people that haven't had those experiences don't have these types of anxieties, and that' its ok to just let them go.

That's a scary snapshot to have in your brain nekorb.

yeah. My other snapshot, which I associate with my abuse, is simply an over head view of my living room. I know when I look at the living room that my parents aren't home, and that I am upstairs in my room. Everything is eerily quiet. In hindsight, there was one day that my mother had the two teenage boys across the street come and babysit me while she went shopping and I was taking a nap. I think I did not get my nap.

Sometimes I can't even watch that kind of scenario on TV without triggering. Like when someone is being tortured and can't move..

ME TOO. That has improved for me over the last couple years in particular.

You know how abusers threaten to harm loved ones of the abused if the abused resists or tells? I wonder if the everyone-trussed-up picture is some kind of child's picture of the threat from the abuser?

I've wondered that too, DM. I'm honestly thankful that I don't have any "real" memories of the actual abuse, or perhaps my brain has buried them deep. That's OK. I lived through it once. I don't really want to live through it over and over with the mind movies.

Did/do you feel any certain way about the god-parents' house? Does it feel really safe in your thoughts, or really threatening? Did you view it differently at that age?

I haven't been there or seen them since I was very young - pre kindergarten or kindergarten age, as far as I can remember. I remember snapping beans from the garden in the front room. I remember a white bead glass lamp that was in my bedroom upstairs. I remember the kitchen had a backdoor out to the yard/garden. I remember the smell of my godfather's pipe. those memories aren't disturbing at all. Then there's that fucking snapshot, so out of place with the other memories. But you know, now that I think of it, I can remember "practicing" in my mind, my parents being dead, so that I would be ready when/if it happened, and it's in their kitchen, or a kitchen like it.


Did you decide not to talk to therapist as a really well considered, valid decision, or is deciding not to talk to her a way to avoid facing your fears for a while longer?

Well considered, valid decision. I've had enough therapy with her to almost hear what she would say! LOL She would be all about me taking the steps to make myself feel safe. Acknowledge that these fears are not founded in experiences with people in my life now, and that I'm grown now and can learn to defend myself (and I'm going to!).

Also, I really think I have the tools to work/deal with these thoughts, especially when I'm getting support here. Just putting that thought in writing was a huge step for me, and I managed it without any prompting from my IC, you know?

Hi Nekorb-thanks for sharing!!! I mean that truly because through sharing and exposure these secrets and darkness get exposed to light and their power gets exponentially drained. AND-you do help others afraid to do the same.

Thank you for the support! Some days it feels monumental to share...

As a preteen/teen I wished all guys I liked would rape me and just get it over with.

Huh. Here's another first for sharing for me - mine was a wish of being raped by - whoever - then having a man/boy come to the rescue after the fact, as I just desperately wanted there to be a man that valued me for something other than sex and that felt and believed that treating me like that (rape) was wrong.

God...all kinds of sharing for me today.

but exposing what is stuck in your head will set you free

I'm hoping that I'm accomplishing that here. If not, I will head back to IC. I generally excel at therapy, but I'm trying to learn to use the tools I've learned to work things out on my own. I figure the closer I get to actually having sex with a guy, I'll know in no uncertain terms whether or not I'm handling this or if I need some more IC.

So many bricks to this wall, it's hard tearing them all down.

Yes, but we all know that the shit on the other side of the wall will just sit there and wait for you, and wreak havoc all the while.

Kate, Butterfly, DM, I'm so sorry for all you've been through. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me and supporting me. It helps to hear that these things I always thought were so strange about me (like the snapshots in my head) are there for a very real and valid reason.

Eileen - I didn't know about my WH's CSA until about year 18. For me, it was a real struggle to maintain healthy boundaries in that situation as it relates to the A. My IC used to tell me all the time, "STOP making excuses for him!". Your WH's CSA is not an excuse for his behavior. He is responsible for dealing with his abuse so that he can be a safe partner for you. Mine wouldn't do it. Don't feel like you have to stay if he isn't doing the work, even if you love him. I'm sorry for your own trauma as well. It really complicates things, doesn't it? Creates this invisible sense of "togetherness" - misery loves company, no one understands like another survivor, etc. Breeds codependency though.

A question about sex (as if my TMI thread isn't getting enough action - LOL) - I kind of feel like I need to disclose, at least on a surface level, that I have a history of abuse. I don't think it's fair to take a relationship to that level (sex) with someone without disclosing that. Not everyone wants to deal with that shit, you know? I don't blame them. Even though I'm pretty far along in the healing process, triggers exist, especially as it relates to my WH not respecting boundaries, etc.

How the fuck do you bring that up and when? I know I would have liked to have known about my WH's CSA so that I could make an informed decision before I became deeply involved with him/in love...oh yeah - and MARRIED to the fucker.

devotedman posted 9/27/2016 00:00 AM

you know how a BS can't reconcile / forgive what is not admitted

Sorry, I wasn't speaking of the abusers themselves. Though we have had members who confronted and found it hugely relieving.

And we've had members who confronted family members who were the abusers, the family members denied, and all contact was cut with toxic family. That's probably both the healthiest and saddest thing that could happen in that scenario at the same time.

From my experience the belief back then was that you needed to work through the experience in a safe environment to rob the experience of its power. From hopelesskate's husbands more recent therapy that appears not to be the case anymore.

I haven't re-researched it.

Different bit coming up, nekorb, imagine a safe fist-bump with fists remaining touching, or index fingers alone touching in a friendly, supportive, E.T. kind of way.

I'm honestly thankful that I don't have any "real" memories of the actual abuse, or perhaps my brain has buried them deep. That's OK.

nekorb, repressed memories often just pop! into the brain. A woman who used to post here, Edith (Hello, Edith, wishing you well wherever you are!), who had grace, dignity, and a gentle, almost beneficient writing style had repressed memories. She described their resurgence as being sudden while driving and she had to pull over to freak out a bit.

Some abused also dissociate. hopefulkate's (not a different member, but my encouraging name for her) husband created multiple 'handlers' of hard situations. This can go as far as full split-personality type stuff, but doesn't necessarily (I believe).

Acknowledge that these fears are not founded in experiences with people in my life now, and that I'm grown now and can learn to defend myself (and I'm going to!).

Grant that I learned about CSA therapy 30 years ago and a bit more. Ok? That said - CSA therapy then and now is not really anything like regular therapy. It just isn't, different beast.

One of hopefulkate's biggest things so far with her H is that she is having trouble holding him responsible while at the same time realizing that he is responsible. If I may paraphrase for her, and hopefulkate, please do correct me.

In her eyes she sees that young kid with no other coping mechanisms in control of her H's adult, male body and driving around in it. It is, from experience, a lot like a discussion I had in another thread about poor impulse control. It isn't imagine-consider-act to perform actions, it is instead impulse-act-rationalize-behavior to perform actions.

That's why we really need to talk to CSA and trauma-specializing therapists.

Some days it feels monumental to share...

Yep! }{

Regarding disclosing, too much to quote there, so here's my take.

Most abusers were abused. The converse is not true. That is, most abused are _not_ abusers.

That said, I feel it incumbent upon me to explain to a woman (generally smaller than me, I'm average in every single measure of average for a US caucasian male) that I was abused. She might have small kids and fear that I'm a nut. She might be afraid for her safety. _If_ these things are true then she has a right to decide who she gets involved with.

It has never gone badly for me.

Now, after The xWGF Affair, I also have to disclose HSV-2. Great. Go, me. Rah rah fuck it.

I've done that twice so far. The CSA disclosure went well both times. The HSV-2, not so much. One threw me out of her house and slammed the door followed by texts. Lots of texts. Followed by being real friendly weeks later with "I miss you"s. Yeah. The other wanted to commit real quick (like marriage commit), citing that _if_ she was going to be exposed she wanted some sort of guarantee.

Now, back then I was even more broken than I am now from The xWGF Affair. Remember "hurt attracts hurt, broken attracts broken, and both attract predators?" It is true.

Read your last paragraph again. You suspect/pretty sure CSA in your background. He had CSA in his.

That reads like my xWW and I. That was definitly a case of "hurt attracts hurt, broken attracts broken, and both attract predators." She had some real odd sexual fantasies. I kept on trying to get better. She didn't, kind of rugswept the CSA, and spiralled down into basically what is best described as "living in her own personal reality."

She's, oh, 57? now. Yeah, about. And she can never live alone again. As in she must be cared for physically.

Remember, nekorb, a lot of us CSA folks go the suicide route. I came that close >< one time at 15 or so.

I know that I was pretty open on your other thread. One thing I'll say here is that the CSA has definitely affected my style. I do not like anything aggressive, for instance.

Of course, I can't really say definitely, can I? After all, how do I know what I'd be like if it weren't for that?

Ok, I wandered a bit.

When to disclose: Start dropping hints of abuse about oh, date 4 or 5. Be factual, not dramatic. You don't need to disclose until you're pretty sure that you want to have sex with him, for instance. Protect yourself and your privacy. You don't want to disclose if you don't think that you can trust him. So, if you go all ONS and stuff then don't say a thing beyond, "Don't do that."

How to disclose: Look him in the eye. I have a pretty detailed account in new beginnings about 8 months ago about how I went about it with a woman that I had just started dating. Your experiences are different, but the factual, no wailing with sackcloth and ashes approach works well. Watch his response. And, if you start to have sex and he just doesn't stop or bothers you then just stop.

I know, easier said than done.

One more thing: Fantasies about being abused and even acting on those can be a thing called "Recreating the abuse." We do it for several reasons. We want to control the outcome, to take control instead of being forced, and thus get a different result. This doesn't really work because it doesn't erase the original experiences.

Or/and, we have low self-esteem and recreating the abuse validates, for us, our idea of not being worth anything.

Or, we have low self-esteem and we've associated positive feelings about self with sex. That can happen if an abuser is only nice to us when they want sex with us. The young person then associates sex with being treated better. That validates us, too.

But another reason that can be a bit harder to overcome - sexual stimulation, if done carefully, is pleasurable. Not every person enjoys the physical part of sexual abuse but some do have positive physical responses, even if the mind is terrorized. That 'good' feeling can lead us to associate pleasurable sexual sensation with being abused.

This is all horribly complicated and I'm cutting great swaths _out_ just to get this post shorter. But read up on that, and also on the fact that some people _do_ orgasm without wanting to while being assaulted. Men, for instance, can gain erections while being in fear that a female attacker will actually sever his penis if he doesn't become erect. It has been reported. Personally, nothing sounds more erection-killing than that. But what do I know? Hasn't happened to me.

nekorb, please do a little reading about CSA therapy. It _is_ different. And I do hope some others that have more recent experiences than I jump in here. I'm just not getting the idea from your description that your therapist would take the correct approach...

Anyone else? Please?

hopefulkate posted 9/27/2016 08:41 AM

Hi Eileen, sorry you are here as well, but welcome - definitely the right place. And you GET IT! You get that his actions are recreating his abuse - (this took me a looooong time ) And not only is this a reenactment, really, the abuse is still ongoing. The term affair, in my opinion, needs to be thrown out the window in this forum. Betrayed trust thing, or lied about thing...sorry, tangent. (DM totally has my number! )

So now what? Now that you have been post A for 7 months, how is he? Remorseful? Working hard at what led him to this point in life again? How are you? Less "murdery ragey" and more tired, hurt and confused?

Sidenote: Trying for 6 months is not very long, so *DEFINITELY* give yourself some compassion. It took us over a year because I wanted a kid SO very badly, that finally i gave up and filed for adoption. The next month - preggo. This is a typical story. Then kid 2 and 3 were essentially first pitch home runs as I was calm? enough and my body and mind were ready.

Now add to that your H is perhaps fearful of having kids given his history too. I'm sure it all plays a role, but as you know, does NOT define the outcome.

...So 7 months post A and fuller disclosure. 7 months post trying for kids? Any HB? Does he, like many of our male SOs abused by males question seriously his sexuality? Do you? And if so, it's ok. All questions and doubts right now are perfectly, and absolutely ok and normal. And that whole sidelined in MC? Yep, normal too.

And perhaps this is for the best. Although as the betrayed we *need* a number of things, both common and individualized to heal, because of our unique situation of *WHY* we are here in this forum is why we can't get what we need first. I'm 20 months out and just now finally getting all of my needs met. And truthfully, it was worth the wait. Frustrating as all hell? Yes. Fair? How is any of this pain fair? (sidenote 2: the first 3 months post dday were all about me in therapy. He had to table his disclosure and pain to help me survive. Once I was up again out of bed, it was time for him to start his process.)

So, while I am probably depressing you (hope not!), the truth is that right now it may be a waiting game for you to see how he chooses to move forward. This is his crossroad in life. Does he choose healing and his partner? Or fear and risk losing you?

It's also ok to tell him that. But, as you know, in non threatening terms if this feels right to you. Something like, I am here for you, even if only as a friend as you go through this, but to stay married, in the long term, I hope that you can choose to work on you, and when ready, work on us. Or something like that - I'm no counselor (so, so obviously!) but that is what I would want to hear if roles reversed.

And yes, this is such an isolating experience. To heal I would want to be open and honest about what I am going through, but to do so would be to betray his trust. So we get it. Post here. Post often. Journal. See your IC. But most importantly, talk to your H. Even if he disassociates and is that kid, you can talk to him too. You've been together long enough to have seen all sides- whether or not you were aware of it. The subtle face changes, voice changes, you already most likely react differently to those. So just be you.

Not sure if any of this helped - when do babies sleep through the night again?? but you are not alone and even if you need to just vent, say so, and someone will be around eventually. Slow furum this one at times.

hopefulkate posted 9/27/2016 09:18 AM

DM, as always, you are a gift to this forum. Thanks for sticking around and helping so many of us!

I think I need to clarify a comment I made, but I will get to that in a second.

Nekorb, you said,

Well considered, valid decision. I've had enough therapy with her to almost hear what she would say! LOL She would be all about me taking the steps to make myself feel safe. Acknowledge that these fears are not founded in experiences with people in my life now, and that I'm grown now and can learn to defend myself (and I'm going to!).

Also, I really think I have the tools to work/deal with these thoughts, especially when I'm getting support here. Just putting that thought in writing was a huge step for me, and I managed it without any prompting from my IC, you know?

It's like you are in my mind! I had a really rough day a few weeks ago, and thought about calling my counselor, but didn't for the same rationale. Except...maybe, my rationale was really cover for "I don't really want to do that work right now because wallowing is safer and easier than the effort needed to combat these feelings"?? This was my case. I was avoiding doing the work. It seemed too hard in that moment. Though I do post in those moments too- carthartic and helpful.

I think DM has a point about counseling. Is your IC trained for your history? Both past, present, and to help you move forward? It makes all the difference in the world.

As for your repressed memories, DM is right in that it is possible that you will recover them one day. So it's best to deal with how you feel about these images now while you can start to rewire those ingrained thought processes. My guess is that your memories are revealed to you when you are ready as you start to look at these things you have finally talked about here. I really do mean it when I say, the truth shall set you free.

Those images of the eyes being black...that must be terrifying. I'm so sorry you are left with that fear. My husband had images of deatheaters from harry potter (my visual of what he described) that came and attacked him. Now that he has addressed them and those fears, those images are gone from his dreams.

Ok, and now for my correction! There are a number of schools of thought on how to treat trauma victims, and of course there are leading figures in the field such as Van der Kolk. So, as not all medicines will work for all, not all therapies will work for all either.

Some people may need to disclose every detail of what happened to them. But if this makes you quiver just reading it, then don't worry, because not everyone needs to.

My husband endured years of abuse. To disclose all that happened would simply be retraumatizing and not helpful when he only has one hour a week to talk about this, and the rest to practice and think about it. Instead, he does disclose things like first, last, worst, dreams, images and memories as they come and pertain to current conversations.......AT HIS SPEED. There is no need to rush this. In fact, rushing could be more harmful, so go as slow as you are comfortable with. Granted, if a year goes by and you are still complaining about socks and tevas being worn at the same time instead of addressing may get pushed by the IC to start digging deeper. (Yes, this was a conversation my husband had in order to avoid talking one day.)

For him, there are a lot of different kinds of experiences to work through. Different players, different actions, different types of abuse. So he goes slowly and processes what he can. Sometimes it gets to be too much and they slow down and do lighter stuff like parenting talk or marriage talk (Wohoo I'm in the room!). And now that he is comfortable there a year and a half later, he is ready to dive in deeper.

Now for me, I have no real concrete memories of abuse - just some weird images and dreams/fantasies that I don't think a kid that young should have/know. (Sidenote 3 of the day: most kids are sexual beings at a young age. Look at most two year old boys - they can't stop playing with it! So, as much as we *feel* wrong, a lot of self exploration is actually normal and common. How we think about these times is what gives us reason to look deeper.)

Anyway, we will focus on the feelings that I have surrounding the abuse, and not worry about the details of what may or not have happened. Erase the self hate, the idea that I am disgusting and not worthy of love...because those were put there by others. I'm actually quite awesome! :)

Now, being scientifically curious (and self aware and with a super awesome IC trained with a brain science approach to therapy) we will start EMDR/hypnosis to see if we can't start to unlock my memories. It might not work. It might open a can of worms...but since I want to understand the brain inside and out - specifically mine and my husband's [possible??] -then for me I'm going to see what I can see. Again, totally unnecessary but a curious mind is a dangerous thing.

Finally DM, thanks for sharing and updating on you a little. Don't think I didn't notice!

blakesteele posted 9/27/2016 11:39 AM

One of the things that happens when we get abused as children is that growth, maturity, what have you, for certain areas stops at the age the abuse occurred.

Yeah.......I fought this for months. I mean, I speak at national conventions and have multi-million dollar projects under me at work, am so dang responsible!!!. How can their be an 11 year old boy in me?

Man.....the amount of posing and tricks I did to myself to hide that boy.

In the process now of facing that boy and allowing him to mature past the box he was placed in at age 11.

Solid thread.....flows so well with the IC and reading I have received on this topic.

There is hope. I'm not all better....and I know its ugly to go back to these spots, but oh so healthy.

Just one of the benefits of feeling and healing is that I find myself operating more honestly in life than I ever had before.....course I thought I was nothing but honest before.

This is humbling....but thats a great starting point to learning new things.

Thanks for the openness and support.

hopefulkate posted 9/28/2016 08:42 AM

Today's Question: Survivor Guilt

This is something I need to read up on a bit more, but my husband has a considerable amount of guilt. Obviously the affair, but I think he is starting to learn compassion for himself for that one as I heal; but for his younger sister and for allowing the abuse to happen to him, to her, and to them.

Logically, even he can say the words (though does not even come close to believing them yet) that he was just a kid and was not even mentally there, so how could there be fault?

The other side of him thinks he was the older brother who was supposed to protect his sister. So when she came in to his room to "play", he should have said no. He wanted to say no, but...we all know the rest.

So, while it is SOOOOOOOO (I emphasize this for any survivors who believe the same as my husband) obvious to "healthy" adults that there is no blame to be given, and therefore no need for an apology, and no need to carry that shame around...he has yet to forgive himself for this piece. Plus, he left the family and does not know how she is doing. This is the part that is hardest for him.

Now that I know, I can look back at her and see how she tried SO hard to get my H to admit what happened. To say, yes! You did not imagine that. That she disassociates WAY more, and WAY worse than any of them (she was years younger when it started-5?), so the damage to her is in some ways worse, and some ways not. I am the only one of the three siblings' significant others who was not into drugs, mental games...and who is loving and supportive and still here. They both have been married and divorced. Her to a super nice guy we all liked, but he bored her. He to a crazy psycho that is either as awful/evil as my husband's AP or worse...I have yet to decide this. But huh...they have A LOT in common. Holy crap...having a HUGE A-HA! moment.

Wow...ok, so, the women were the same in many, many ways. Socio-economic status, jealous rage, manipulative, truly fascinating as this describes their aunt and mother. huh...

And my H's sister bounces back and forth between nice guys (who become her victims) and abusers...aka my husband and the oldest brother. (My husband feels abused by his younger sister, but feels like the abuser because he was older. I haven't pushed for more details as to whether or not he initiated ever- does NOT sound like it -but it's at his pace to disclose what he wants...), powerful, powerful connections.

Totally my question - how to work on guilt. Suggestions?

nekorb posted 9/28/2016 19:54 PM

I had to come here to post my reply to this issue in the TMI thread in NB. The quote is from DM.

Again, this can be normal-ish, depends upon the context. I've had partners who told me that our *ahem* "mutually assured destruction" of the night before was quite successful and the funny walk was a good funny walk.

Yeah, I've had that walk, but that isn't what I'm talking about. It's the I'm bleeding, I think I have a laceration and probably a UTI kind of pain. He'd say he was sorry, but there was always this feeling of "yeah, I did that with my dick" emanating from him. I don't know how to explain it. I knew what positions or activities would cause these issues, I told him what they were, and yet, I'd still have to remind him, stop him, redirect him, etc.

It's like, WTF, dude? Didn't you see what happened to me the last time you did that? Do you not remember me saying it hurt? How can avoiding that not be of the utmost importance to you?

Oh right, because you don't give a shit. I forgot. It's all about you and your fucking ego and your fucking mind movies of how you want things to be.

He was supposed to love me, you know? I was supposed to actually matter to him.

Just one more element of the mind fuckery of being with an NPD.

Yes he used to say he was sorry. He would write me a prescription for the UTI. He would give me a few days to heal, usually. But then, it was right back to the way it was. The words were there, but the actions didn't follow.

I remember one stretch of emails between him and the whore where he treated her for three UTI's in a row, one right after the other, and I thought - why don't you stop fucking her three times a day every day you stupid prick? Let her get better! I felt badly for her despite the fact that she was fucking my husband.


I just didn't want to put this over in the TMI thread, because that's a bit much for over there, I think.

devotedman posted 9/28/2016 21:12 PM

Oh, Lord, if that was too much then my latest reply will get me banned. Which, BTW, I do hope that it does not.

Here's my take - cockwomble is a cruel, childish, immature, selfish, inconsiderate ass. Write that sentence down and any time you think of something that he did then take the paper out and re-read it. Seriously.

He might have issues stemming from something that would make him a candidate to post here, he might not. But he's salving (not solving) his own immaturities by making you pay.

IOW, he's a bully.

One night xWGF started bleeding -profusely- during simple missionary, no accoutrements, no extremes, just me in the normal position very early on and the first time that day.

I panicked, cleaned us both up, straight off to ER and right in (bleeding had stopped), called sibling, held hand, comforted, listened attentively to her and to Dr., cleaned bed/cleaned and soaked sheets, made bed, put her in it, cuddled. Maybe a hot tea/coke in there, too long ago to remember accurately.

That's how caring people act towards other people, especially those that they care about.

Now, I am most assuredly not perfect. There are times that things get to me and I don't realize that I'm being short, or standoffish, or ignoring. There are times that my self-esteem hits the shitter and I'm sort of a mess to deal with. There are odd times that I need to get up in the middle of the night and go sit in the living room or on the porch and smoke and think. There are times when I'm a bit needy and want validation and reassurance, but mostly not. Mostly I'm okay. Not perfect by any stretch, but ok.

hopefulkate, yes to Survivor's Guilt and Survivor's Rage, no to siblings. I'm an only.

I basically reasoned myself out of the guilt and rage, giving myself the same respect and acknowledgement of not knowing what to do and powerlessness that I would have given to any child in my position that I heard about now.

Truthfully, I believe that he and sister were both operating out of training/validation/being taught that those activities were normal. Now he's grown to know that they are not and sister has not, or has chosen not to deal with it. She honestly sounds a bit rug-sweepy to me. Declaring, "I got over it" when she clearly has not.

I was 4 when I can remember the sexual abuse starting. I acted out, but didn't do drugs beyond pot literally a handful of times. Think, how many fingers you got? I drink with some dinners (when out and appropriate, limit two or three for a long dinner). I drink _very_ occasionally at home, like once in the last six or eight months. A drink and a half because that was what the recipe made.

I did pick a partner young and did pick rather badly. Then I picked another for live at 42, 43? and that one ended badly, too.

I do feel empathy for both of them. I am sorry that they lived that.

[This message edited by devotedman at 9:18 PM, September 28th, 2016 (Wednesday)]

nekorb posted 9/28/2016 21:26 PM

Thanks DM. Maybe it was just too much for ME to post it over there. Just...very raw feeling and I didn't really feel like exposing myself on this topic in the thread. Weird, I know, as anyone could just hope right over here and read it.

Cockwomble has a significant history of CSA that he has never dealt with.

For as much bitching as he did about our sex life and how I "seemed fine with how things were", he forgets that *I* am the one who asked to go to counseling/sex therapy because I was unhappy with our sex life. He was dissociating during started when our son hit right around the age that he was when he was abused. Classic. We tried to address some of the other issues as well like him ignoring what I like and don't like, having a script that he's following (porn), etc. He didn't want to do the work. At all. He just wanted to get laid.hed say, "I just want to have sex." When asked about his goals for therapy. The he never wanted to do the work. I did my share of the work and tried to do his, codependent that I was.

Kate - your post reminded me of my ex as well - he and another child were molested together - a girl - and he feels horrible guilt for having not protected her. Never mind that he was six years old and was also being molested. I figure this was the the beginning of his KISA part of his NPD.

I'm thankful for this thread. A safe place to talk about this shit. I was thinking about how we recreate our abuse. My most recent abuse prior to Cockwomble had been in the church - it was an emotionally abusive situation, not sexual, with a HUGE codependent component that the church pushed as part of their agenda. My codependent self with abandonment issues was drawn like a moth to a light ion to his KISANPD self.

I need a break.

devotedman posted 9/28/2016 21:34 PM

nekorb, I get the safe environment thing, I really do. You're already somewhat established here. You feel comfortable. This he-ah is fist-bumpin' territory! }{

devotedman posted 9/29/2016 06:43 AM

Cockwomble has a significant history of CSA that he has never dealt with.

xWW was like that. It was really tearing her up inside. It also made her impossible to live with, and my own history made (makes? who knows?) me not perfect, either. And "made" isn't really the right word because supposedly you can choose to react differently but if you don't know how to and you've been brought up that way _and_ you're damaged from it but don't know that, well then, how responsible are you, truly? Mitigating circumstances.

People like that are so torn up inside. They think that they know what they want but what they want or how they go about getting it and how they react to setbacks all conspire to cause them to fail to get what they want, so without more knowledge they just keep trying the same things over and over. I feel sorry for them at the same time that their actions and their being mired in their behaviors pisses me off, you know?

I'll tell you that he honestly deserves pity more than hatred, probably. Deep inside him there's that scared kid trying to assuage his hurt and the way that he's been trained to interact with the world is a really fucked up way to interact with the world, you know?

Another possibility is that the hurt and confusion that he has has simply turned him into a minor monster (minor as in tiny, not young child). There might really be nothing inside him left if you took away all of the bad stuff. NPD and other similar PDs are thought to get started from terrible upbringings like that. Light NPD can be treated if the person realizes something is wrong and goes accepts treatment. Extreme NPD, the sufferer can't even conceive that there might be something wrong. We're just all out to get them.

To sum up, I'm sorry that the child that he was went through that. I think that now he needs to work on dealing with it so that he's a fit human for himself and for society.

nekorb posted 10/1/2016 15:36 PM

I'm sorry that the child that he was went through that. I think that now he needs to work on dealing with it so that he's a fit human for himself and for society.

It's a very sad thing. But he won't do the work. He won't even admit that the CSA affects him. He would never have become a safe partner for me.

So now, onto another question. We were discussing when we should disclose about the CSA to a potential partner, and you had suggested date 4. I realize that it isn't a set in stone number, but I am most likely going to be on date 4 with CK soon.

My question is though, what if I cry during this little disclosure? We were talking about "life" last night, and somehow the topic of my mother came up, and I could tell that if the topic didn't change right quickly I was going to have to change it or be in tears.

I'm considering saying something along these lines, "I want to tell you about an important piece of my history that I feel you should know about before we become too involved. Please know that this is 99% resolved via therapy already, but the remaining 1% may make a random appearance here and there. I have a long history of abuse. I was sexually abused as a child, I was abused emotionally and spiritually in the church as a teen, and I was abused emotionally and treated poorly in the sexual arena by Cockwomble. I have some remnants of PTSD that appear every now and again, but have mostly dissipated over the last few years. I do not expect you to fix this for me or be responsible for my management of this in any way, but I think you deserve to know in case a trigger should appear without warning, and because some people choose not to be involved with someone with this history, and that's ok. I am very self aware and I seek treatment when necessary, which is rarely at this juncture."

Btw, I hate every word of that. So, if anyone has any other suggestions, I'm totally open to it. It feels long and like TMI. I'm not sure if it's the words that I hate, or the fact that it's actually my history.

Maybe I won't tell CK yet. But that feels unfair.

ETA: and I didn't mention my history of an eating disorder. When I look at "myself" like this on paper, it looks really fucked up. BUT - if I read it with a positive tone and cadence it isn't quite so bad.

[This message edited by nekorb at 4:39 PM, October 1st (Saturday)]

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